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To Bitter Reactions, Flagler Beach Commission Again Delays Hiring a New Manager

| October 14, 2010

Absent without vote. (FlaglerLive)

It’s been 175 days since Bernie Murphy announced to the Flagler Beach City Commission that he was resigning his position as city manager, and 12 days since he left for good. It may be another 175 days before the commission figures out a way to hire a permanent replacement. Earlier this evening (Oct. 14), the commission punted again on choosing a replacement, leaving Caryn Miller, the acting manager, still in charge, and possibly losing a crack at one of the three candidates in the running.

The commission has been wrangling over a short-shortlist of three candidates since last month. Gary Word and Edward Sealover are the two out-of-towners. Bruce Campbell, who works for the city, is the in-towner. Word is reportedly the top choice for manager of Green Cove Springs, where he may be hired before the Flagler Beach commission makes up its mind.

The reason for the delay this time: Commissioner Joy McGrew was in North Carolina, where she usually vacations. She was piped in by phone, but she said she wanted to be here in the chambers in person to vote on a new manager. McGrew made a motion to table the discussion, drawing loud criticism and ridicule from several people in the audience. With a 3-2 vote, the motion passed and the matter was tabled until October 28. McGrew, Feind and Vath were in the majority. Commissioners Jane Mealy and Steve Settle, rare allies–especially on this issue–dissented.

Vath’s vote was not a surprise. He had earlier seconded a previous motion to hire Campbell. But he had also spent the last two months away from the commission, missing every meeting and contributing only by phone on two occasions, when the commission discussed–and delayed–hiring a manager in late September and earlier this month. The commission accommodated his absence. He would have looked hypocritical had he not supported McGrew’s request to have her absence accommodated.

“Do you need me anymore?” McGrew said after the tabled matter. And she hung up. Most in the audience of 38 people (not including cops) grumbled, some spoke their disdain at the commission openly and audibly, and more than half walked out: they’d showed up hoping to see Campbell hired. Several of those who stayed spoke their disappointment to the commission. (There’d been uniformed cops in the audience, there to keep the peace. Two of them ran out during the proceedings, apparently on a call.)

Commissioner Steve Settle had immediately began the discussion by making the motion he made last month—to hire Campbell as the new manager for a year. Commissioner Ron Vath seconded it. “We could give the guy a try,” Vath said, noting that it would take three votes to fire him if necessary. City Clerk Penny Overstreet reminded the commission that just as it takes four votes to hire a manager, it takes four votes to fire one. Vath and Commission Chairman Feind were surprised. “That’s news to me,” the chairman said.

Alice Baker, the mayor, who does not have a vote in the matter but has spoken her mind freely throughout, repeated her support for Campbell. Commissioner Jane Mealy then spoke, disagreeing with the notion that he was prepared. “I think it would be a very big mistake to do this,” she said.

“Is it imperative that this decision be made tonight?” McGrew said. “I just don’t understand where the urgency is coming from to have to do it tonight, knowing that I wasn’t going to be there.”

“The citizens of this town need a city manager, they deserve a city manager, they have supported through their petitions, of which I signed, Bruce Campbell,” said one man who addressed the commission–and hammered the podium with his finger as he reprimanded McGrew’s delay. “Is Commissioner McGrew still on the phone?” he asked.

She wasn’t.

Commissioners listened, then moved on, with the mayor talking about the recent bed race.

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15 Responses for “To Bitter Reactions, Flagler Beach Commission Again Delays Hiring a New Manager”

  1. John Smith says:

    The city is saved, at least for 2 more weeks. Stay the coarse Fiend, Mcgrew, and Mealy DO NOT LET THESE FEW PEOPLE THAT THINK THEY ARE THE POWER WIN THIS BATTLE. It makes you wonder why there is such a rush to get Campbell in there, and there is no middle of the road to go down with this group, its just their way or the highway. If there is NOT a AGENDA on behalf of these people I’ll kiss everyone of their behinds.( How is that is that sweet enough said for you all)

  2. John Smith says:

    As typical with the group that wants Campbell in there it shows their colors when it is OK for their man VATH to be gone for Months and check in by phone but someone or anyone else that is not with them it is entirely wrong for them to be gone. I hope everyone is not color blind and see this also.

  3. Citizen says:

    The last thing Flagler Beach needs is a politicized City Manager. The City Manager is not an elected position for a reason, that person answers to the commission directly, not directly to the citizens. This allows the person to be an effective manager and run a city efficiently. A commissioners job is to set policy and exercise oversight, part of that oversight is to hire (and fire) a City Manager. They answer to the people. The commission’s role is NOT TO RUN THE CITY DAY TO DAY AND MICROMANAGE.

    Don’t you people get it, the reason they want Campbell in there is because he CAN BE CONTROLLED. He will play ball. If you bring a City Manager in that knows what the hell is going on and what the Commissions role is in this form of government then the party is over. Flagler Beach needs someone with experience running a city that will run the city effectively by exercising policy set by the commission, NOT by allowing the commission to meddle in the day to day running of the city.

    If Campbell had half a brain he would withdraw his application for City Manager and run for a commission seat. Apparently he’s a great politician but unfortunately a City Manager is NOT A POLITICAL POSITION. Is this really that hard to comprehend???

  4. Anonymous says:

    you must be very proud of your commissioners JOHN SMITH! this whole process has been a joke. BRUCE CAMPBELL is the man for the job! it doesn’t matter what YOU say or the PEOPLE say. obviously… the commissioners decide. that is why they were elected. BUT…….mr. smith, can you live with it? whatever the decision? if mr. campbell is chosen and proves himself, will you be able to “come out” and concede? or, will the battle continue no matter what? i commend the commissioners on their decision this evening. even though i don’t agree. were you even there? incognito? i was there. i wouldn’t want to be any one of them. bruce campbell included.

  5. Anonymous says:

    C’mon citizen! and anyone else who is paying attention! NO, IT IS NOT AN ELECTED POSITION! bruce campbell wants to work with the commissioners. HE CAN DO THIS!! ALL HE NEEDS IS A CHANCE! hell, he can be fired if the commissioners think he’s a screw up! BUT, he is the only applicant that wants and can do this for the RIGHT reasons! HE LIVES IN AND LOVES FLAGLER BEACH.

  6. John Smith says:

    Well yes anonymous I was there and not incognito, as you yourself are on here. Campbell is a joke and if he is elected by the the commission because the group with the agenda wants it then so be it. Guess I will just have to work for him too. You all have your same old song ( HE WORKS FOR THE COMMISSION NOT THE PEOPLE) well the people just have to call city hall and complain and remind him who got him his job so they will get what they want done without going to the commission. How much longer is this going to take place, oh I guess until You break the other 2 commissioners.

  7. Anonymous says:

    john! why do you believe he is such a joke? why can you not support him? is it because of the “group” you refer to? do you know him? have you ever spoke to him of your feelings? i have! he is his own man and believe it or not, if you are honest and true, he will listen…….NO MATTER WHERE or WHAT his position. you have the same rights as anyone else! please! get past the “people” ….give him an honest chance! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Really now, who cares about what John Smith has to say. He is obviously an raving idiot with some kind of axe to grind

  9. John Smith says:

    Anonymous you hurt my feelings. I am crushed. I may not post again. NOT.

  10. louie says:

    Caryn Miller Appointed Flagler Beach’s Acting Manager As Commission Flirts With Stalemate

    From Ima Cheekspreader,

    Mr. Smith, a member of your own “crew” has ratted you out. Don’t get fired up; throw some water on the fire if you know what we are saying. Of course you have plenty of paper towels to sop up the water. Do not disgrace your colleagues.

  11. curious says:

    40 or so people do NOT represent the population’s wishes. Their AGENDA is clear and to say that Campbell knows nothing about it is an even bigger joke. This is not an elected position for that exact reason. I guess the 40 people that are pressuring Settle and Vath have convinced them that it is in their best interest to go their way…. The two have forgotten that there are other people in the City that count and campaign promises to the few are more important than the best for our City. Campbell is NOT it.
    Bravo to Mealy, Feind and McGrew!!!

  12. Concerned says:

    I think scratch this list and start over! It has gotten too political.

  13. John Smith says:

    Well what do say louie, my colleagues have nothing to do with what I have to say, so you don’t need to make NO threats to me louie. As a city resident I can say any —— thing I want too even if its about you all, so don’t bother me with your bull—t threats. and yes i can just come to your shop and get them.

  14. William says:

    Sealover has already accepted another position in GA. Who in their right mind would work for that city Commission? You would have to be pretty damn desperate.

  15. Princess says:

    Glad Sealover went to GA. He had a bad reputation in a town previously. They paid him off to get him to leave early. He supposedly worked by intimidation. No loss there! We sure didn’t need that.

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